by Anthony Ng

Deliberate Practice — Becoming an Open Sourcerer

Open Sourcerer

I recently finished reading Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. It’s a quick read, and it introduced me to the concept of deliberate practice.

What is deliberate practice?

In the book, Cal talks about people who claim they have 20 years of experience. Generally, these people have 20 of the same 1 year experiences. What he means is that they go through the same routine and feel comfortable. They choose not to be uncomfortable and do not push themselves.

A good metaphor of this is going to the gym. If you don’t push yourself to lift heavier and heavier weights, you won’t see improvement. Imagine a person going to the gym for 20 years, but never getting past the 20 pound dumbbell section. Compare this to someone who challenges themselves every single time they go to the gym. Imagine the difference in their improvements.

After graduating from university, Cal found that his knowledge and growth plateaued. To combat this, he took to studying academic papers to push and challenge himself.

Putting Deliberate Practice to…practice

In Corbett Barr’s article, Deliberate Practice: What It Is and Why You Need It, Corbett states that expert performance is a result of expert-level practice and not talent.

It has to be the right kind of practice. It has to be hard enough to challenge us. But not too hard to make us feel like we’re drowning.

My quest is to improve myself as a software developer. I am going to start studying, and (hopefully) contributing to Open Source projects. I plan on writing articles about what I learned. This will solidify my own knowledge, and might even help others learn a couple of things.

Please leave a comment if you have any other deliberate practice techniques!

And here’s the first article in my series of explorations of deliberate practice:

Deliberate Practice: What I learned from reading the classNames codebase
This is part of my plan for deliberate practice to improve as a developer. Take a look at this article to learn